The Verb is the Problem, Not the Noun!
It is said that:
'Capitalism is the problem.'
'Communism is the problem.'
'Republican's are the problem.'
'Democrats are the problem.'
The labels are not the problems. The actions associated with the labels are the problems. The actions not associated with the labels are the problems. And not identifying other actions is also a problem.
For many it is a matter of not defining and recognizing terms. This doesn’t mean that people are refusing to define or recognize terms. This simply means that people are not discussing how they define, invoke, and recognize terms and ideas in specific ways. Just because a dictionary gives a definition of a word doesn’t mean that everyone uses the word the same way. Culture, societal norms, and the way people are taught by others and how they teach themselves how to learn foster an infinite variety of ways to understand. Context is required. This is what perspective is all about!
So to point to a dictionary for the definition of a word that is certainly not common and claim others who invoke that word differently are absolutely wrong is a mistake. It easily creates conflict where such need not exist if at least one individual privy to the exchange in question recognizes the differences in perspective. It is one thing to point out a common word such a ‘very’ and it is something else to point out the use of a less common and more complex word such as ‘capitalistic’. Admittedly it is far easier in the moment to simply generalize what labels apply to which things and blame everyone else for being wrong. Yet the amount of time, patience, and dedication to ensuring clarity of exchanging ideas is paramount to the cause of comprehension, individual growth of freedom, and the collective wellbeing of Humanity.
Well, how does one go about doing this? Just like this, is how:
When it is said that ‘capitalism is the problem with the world,’ what should be the first question asked if not, “What is capitalism?” The idea of capitalism is the action in question. This is the interaction between people. This is what needs clarification because it is the action being contested for causing harm or otherwise. Therefore, capitalism is the idea which needs further clarification.
To some people capitalism is seen as an oppressive authoritarian structure. To others it is all about voluntary exchange. And too me capitalism is one of several evolutions of the voluntary barter system. This evolution of bartering just happens to focus on the acquisition of financial wealth in order to continually increase the ability to create what I define in my book, Liberty Defined, as real wealth. (This would be any good, service, or idea which can directly satisfy one or more of the four basics of life; sustenance, shelter, security, and happiness. That of course leaves money and currency to typically be artificial wealth.) In essence capitalism to me is just an advance network of voluntary exchange that negates the necessity of having to find numerous people to trade with in order to get the goods, services, or ideas that people desire.
Maybe we should stop worrying about labels and begin to focus on actions. Maybe we should be focusing on defining those actions and seeking common understanding between ideas first. People who champion government and dissent against it alike are both caught up in identifying with labels and associating actions with those labels instead of focusing on the actions specifically. And perhaps too many people make the false assumption that others understand things as they do.
Too many people seem to identify too many different things differently. And not recognizing that is what causes so much discord between otherwise reasonable minds. The sacrifice that is the fundamental building block of all responsibility is the investment of one’s own time, intellect, and labor to self reflect and seek to create through comprehension first.
Common government advocates will say that it is to aid in the greater good. Common dissenters of government will say that it is about individual freedom. Neither is entirely correct. By working to strengthen individuals through patience and the desire to create connections instead of destroying them, we can work towards a common good and increase individual freedom!
But hold on just a moment! Shouldn’t I be doing something else first?
What is it that common advocates of government want to achieve through aiding the common good? And what purpose is served by promoting more individual freedom by the common dissenter of government? This is what I should be discussing instead of simply telling my audience that both are correct or incorrect and how they can both achieve their goals. The sacrifice is not about giving up personal freedom to help the greater good; nor is the sacrifice to grow about shunning the greater good to protect individual freedom. The sacrifice is about making the time to refine your own intellect and labor to comprehend each situation and interaction you are privy to in order to learn from it to benefit yourself in at least a neutral, if not positive, manner for yourself and in at least a neutral manner for those being interacted with.
The nouns, or the persons, places, and things, are not the issue here ever. What is up for debate are the actions, the verbs, the relations between the nouns. This is why defining terms is the pinnacle of all comprehension.
So next time you have that debate with someone and they claim capitalism is a structure of authoritarian hierarchy, that communism is a collectivist hell, that Republicans only care about the rich, or that Democrats are the party of slavery, why not ask why and how these ideas are defined and come to be understood as such. There is no guarantee of victory for anyone when doing this because victory is not the goal. Growth is the premise! And there is the potential for growth for all involved.
The goal is to not have a contest with who is more frequently correct in the recognition of facts and context. The goal is to gain in comprehension so that the individual may have more experience and knowledge to grow his or her own employment in the field of wisdom. This wisdom is about recognizing how your actions to grow personally aid in the development of others’ without intentionally negatively affecting them while leaving open the potential to make connections for future exchanges. This is why I try more with each passing day to avoid the sarcastic approach to sharing what I know with others and why I do my best to reject the derogatory and condescending perspective. Yet, in order for this to work, all parties involved must be seeking to create and be mindful of the things they relay and what is relayed to them.
So just in case a few of you are wondering, what is it that both common advocates of government and common dissenters of government are seeking to achieve!?!
Well, by defining their goals they all seek to achieve the ability to continually maintain and improve the quality of their lives. That is the intended action behind all of the unnecessary hostility of calling people dirty communists, capitalist pigs, racist Republicans, and demagoguing Democrats. All of these groups have the same goal in common. The problem is that each group also seeks different methods in achieving their goals. And because so many people take up the label of each of these groups and employ actions which are not always in step with the intent of the initial invocation of the label used, others end up seeing these labels as good, bad, neutral or a mix of such.
The nouns we invoke to distinguish ourselves from one another often become points of contention because we don’t make the time to understand why we invoke such things instead of others and why other people make different choices too! By making the connections through comprehension, we find that we are all issued a similar canvas upon which to paint. The only differences are the materials we acquire to use and how we use them to create the art we desire. And arguably how we acquire these materials.
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